Sprint’s Trump Card is the iPhone + Data

A little ahead of the big iPhone news today, a WSJ report alleged a rather overwhelming twist of the iPhone 5’s distribution model.  According to the claim, Sprint will be added to the catalogue of US carriers to distribute the iPhone, and it’s going to get more than the CDMA version.

The Wall Street Journal says Sprint pledged to buy at least 30.5 million iPhones to ship in the next 4 years and the deal is expected to cost the carrier $20 billion.  When Sprint CEO Dan Hesse proposed the plan to the board, he noted that the carrier could lose money till 2014, the report added.

In a separate claim, BGR contends that Sprint will be added to the list of Apple’s distributors of the iPhone 4S, and will be the sole distributor of iPhone 5 until 2012 under the carrier’s WiMax network.  AT&T and Verizon will get the LTE version of the dual-mode thereafter.

Sprint’s move to monopolize the distribution of the upcoming iPhone would make sense for the carrier, as they look to regain market share and avoid being an outcast in the US iPhone party.  If the deal turns out to be true, it could be a huge customer magnet, especially as Sprint remains a lone holdout on budget-friendlier data plans.  Being the exclusive distributor of Google’s very own Nexus S just isn’t enough–the data plan-iPhone combo could be Sprint’s big trump card.

“Sprint may be happy with the Android devices in its portfolio—among them, it is the sole distributor of the Nexus S, Google’s own Android device—but perhaps not happy enough. Hesse noted at an industry conference last month that Sprint’s lack of the iPhone was the ‘number-one reason people leave’ Sprint,” says Paid Content.

With all the developments going on, there’s great potential that T-Mobile will be the one to get blackballed. Who knows, the AT&T merger might be a good idea after all.